By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics is showing no signs of compromising with Apple in their patent dispute; rather, the company appears ready to go for broke in what it increasingly sees as a do-or-die battle.
“No compromise!’’ Shin Jong-kyun, the head of the firm’s telecommunication division, told The Korea Times Wednesday after a meeting of senior company officials.
Shin’s comment followed reports that Apple offered Samsung a cross-licensing deal to end their patent dispute.
The report said Apple offered a licensing deal ranging from $5 to $15 per device sold as a means of settling the pending litigation.
The devices include the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad.
Shin’s confirmation if Samsung’s stance came as a surprise because the company has been pushed into a corner in a string of unfavorable rulings, although signs of it are easy to find.
Its budget for the patent fight has been increased to over $260 million this year from $200 million, according to sources familiar with the matter.
However, Shin didn’t comment on whether the two engaged in talks for an out-of-court settlement.
``The Samsung leadership has concluded that its fight with Apple, ironically, is helping it,” an industry expert said, noting that the company owes user awareness to the U.S. company.
Samsung became the world’s biggest smartphone maker in terms of global sales last year after passing Apple and is aiming to overtake Nokia to become the world’s top manufacturer of handsets.
However, it is facing a new threat.
The European Union has already started an investigation into Samsung’s competitive practices, believing that it may be in violation of a promise made more than a decade ago.
Back in 1998, the Korean tech giant said it would license essential telephonic patents to competing manufacturers under terms outlined in FRAND, or fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, agreements.
``We are studying the Apple-Qualcomm relationship to set up new legal strategies,’’ said a Samsung official. Qualcomm received a great deal of royalties from Samsung for special chips.
Samsung recently made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to reveal the details of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, which currently supplies chips for the iPhone 4S, CDMA iPhone 4, and iPad 2.
Qualcomm is currently in a cross-licensing agreement with Samsung, bringing up the question of whether ``Apple’s buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents.’’
Specifically, Samsung defense lawyer Dylan Ruga wants to know if Apple is considered a ``Qualcomm Customer,’’ a term that is “defined in certain licensing agreements between Samsung and Qualcomm.”